Quest photo finish highlights exciting year for local sports
It was a good year to be a sports fan in Whitehorse.
Photo by Vince Fedoroff
MAGICAL MOMENT – Hugh Neff mushes his team across the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race finish line February 14 in Whitehorse. Allen Moore glided in 26 seconds behind Neff to claim second place. HOST CITY – Athletes are seen in the Canada Games Centre as the Yukon band Zip Line performs at the opening ceremony of the Arctic Winter Games March 4. Whitehorse hosted the 2012 Games, which saw the Yukon capture 122 medals, second only to Alaska.
It was a good year to be a sports fan in Whitehorse.
Yukon’s capital city played host to two major sporting events – the Arctic Winter Games in March, and the Women’s World Fastpitch Championship in August – and also witnessed the closest finish in Yukon Quest history in February when musher Hugh Neff crossed the finish line in Shipyards Park only 26 seconds ahead of Allen Moore.
Listed below is a summary of the local sports highlights in 2012’s year in review.
Well-known junior curler Thomas Scoffin skipped Canada to a bronze medal at the inaugural Youth Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.
Yukon cross-country ski athletes shone at the Western Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships in Canmore, Alta. Dahria Beatty, Janelle Greer, and the Nishikawa siblings – Graham and Emily – all won multiple medals.
Longtime musher Hugh Neff won his first Yukon Quest in style, crossing the finish line first in front of Allen Moore to win the top purse of $28,395. Neff finished the 29th edition of the 1,000-mile race in nine days, 17 hours, 14 minutes and 49 seconds.
The Vanier Crusaders capped an undefeated season by winning the senior boys high school basketball title 86-45 over the F.H. Collins Warriors.
The senior girls Warriors avenged their loss however, beating the Crusaders 67-35 to take the girls crown.
In their sixth-straight appearance at the junior curling nationals in Napanee, Ont., Thomas Scoffin’s rink posted a rare winning record, finishing 7-5.
Also appearing for the sixth-straight time, Sarah Koltun’s rink finished with a record of 4-8.
Whitehorse hosted the 2012 Arctic Winter Games March 4 to 10, and the host team didn’t disappoint, winning 122 medals, second only to Alaska.
The Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club sent a team to the Haywood Ski Nationals at Quebec’s Mont Ste-Anne, finishing second out of 66 competing clubs.
A season that almost never began ended with historic achievements for the Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club. The local club recovered from an early-season fire at the Canada Games Centre to host a successful season. The club sent three skaters to the Canadian Short Track Championships – a territorial best – and Heather Clarke won a bronze medal.
Long-time champ Kevin Murphy was the men’s singles champion at the Yukon Table Tennis Championships – his 18th title.
Members of the Glacier Bears swim team broke five records at the Yukon Invitational Swim Meet.
Adrian Robinson broke records in the 50-metre breast stroke and 100-m breast stroke.
Female swimmers Rennes Lindsday, Cassis Lindsay and Haley Braga each set record times in the 200-m fly, 100-m back stroke and 400-m individual medley.
The Northern Lights Judo Club won the Yukon circuit following a very strong season.
The Yukon’s top U-18 local volleyball players recorded their top finish at the Canadian Open Volleyball Championships in Toronto, winning their division to finish 17th.
The Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay saw local cyclists win nine of 11 categories in the 238-km race from Haines Junction to Haines, Alaska.
For the second year in a row, local tri-athlete Karl Blattman won the men’s side of the Whitehorse Triathlon. Kerrie Paterson won the women’s side.
The 14th annual Yukon River Quest title was seized by the Down Under Dogs, who paddled the race in just under 42 hours. The top women’s team, Skirting Disaster, shaved more than eight hours off the previous top time.
Whitehorse played host to the Women’s World Fastpitch Championship. Japan won the title, edging the USA 2-1 in extra innings. Canada finished fourth in the 16-team tournament.
The Yukon’s only Olympian, Zach Bell, finished eighth in the omnium at the London Olympic Games. He had been a pre-tournament medal hopeful.
The territory’s orienteering team picked up 32 medals at the Canadian Orienteering Championships in Alberta. Hannah Shier and Brent Langbakk won three gold medals each.
Team Yukon shone at the Canada 55-plus Games in Sydney, N.S. The local squad won 76 medals, a new record. Donna Jones was the top local winner, taking home seven medals.
The Klondike Trail of ’98 International Road Relay celebrated 30 years with 1,330 participants.
Local team Scarecrow won the 175-km race for the third year in a row with a total time of 11:29:43, out-running the second place team by more than three hours.
More than 80 runners continued a Thanksgiving tradition, competing in the Victoria Marathon. Yukon MP Ryan Leef was the top local finisher, placing 38th in a quick 2:58:15. Nineteen-year-old Logan Roots finished 18th in the half marathon, and first in his age category.
Whitehorse hosted the 2012 City Chase Canadian Championships in Whitehorse, and it was won by a split team. The urban adventure event, known for its secrets and surprises, ended with Team Mutt, a partnership of Ottawa’s Chris McQuinn and Edmonton’s James Dean, as overall winners.
Local fans got a close-up look at some NHL talent as the NHLPA held a charity game at Takhini Arena. Nunavut’s Jordin Tootoo was the event’s main attraction, which also included a variety of Ottawa Senators players.
The Vanier Crusaders failed to beat the F.H. Collins Warriors all season – until the game that mattered most – the senior boys volleyball Yukon Championship. In the senior girls final, the Porter Creek Rams defeated the F.H. Collins Warriors in four sets to claim gold.
Local golf pro Jeff Wiggins was rewarded for his fine work when he was named Golf Professional of the Year by the PGA of BC.
Zach Bell and Emily Nishikawa were named the territory’s International Athletes of the Year by Sport Yukon at the organization’s annual awards night. Shooter
Nicholas Rittel and skier Katie Peters were named Territorial/National Athletes of the Year, while Dawson City hockey legend John Flynn was inducted to the Hall of Fame.
Mustang pride was front and centre during the inaugural Hockey Day in Whitehorse celebrations, held Saturday at Takhini Arena.
The local rep hockey teams hosted the Juneau Capitals and the Aldergrove Bruins in a three-day weekend tournament.
Local figure skater Rachel Pettitt capped a brilliant season by finishing fourth in pre-novice at Skate Canada Challenge – her age group’s national championship.
The Nishikawa siblings skied to their best World Cup finishes in Canmore, Graham finishing 15th in the 30-km skiathlon, and Emily crossing the finish line 34th overall in the 15-km skiathlon. She was the top Canadian finisher.